Boğaziçi University student commits suicide as dismissed father under arrest for 9 months

Boğazici University student Tuğçe Ölçer.

21-year-old university student Tuğçe Ölçer died after jumping off a balcony as she was depressed in the face of her father’s imprisonment, according to Turkish media.

A fourth-grade at the İstanbul-based Boğazici University’s Faculty of Education, Ölçer jumped to her death from her family house’s balcony in Buca, İzmir on Saturday. Local media reported that Ölçer suffered a psychological trauma after his father, identified with his initials M.A.Ö., was arrested and that she was in a bad mood for some time.

M.A.Ö., a former teacher who also served as the Director of National Education in İzmir’s Tire district, was dismissed from his job over his alleged links to the Gülen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.

The father has been under arrest, since Sept 9, 2016, over his alleged membership to a “terrorist organization” as the government describes the Gülen movement as “terrorist.” He has also been denied permission by a prosecutor to attend his daughter’s funeral.

More than 120,000 people including teachers, state workers, academics, judges, prosecutors, businessmen, lawyers and many others from different backgrounds have been detained over alleged links to the Gülen movement since last summer. The movement denies both involvement in the coup attempt and the terror accusations.

A total of 35 people who or whose relatives have been affected by the post-coup purge, either by losing their jobs or by being arrested, due to their alleged links to the movement, have committed suicide, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) said in a report in late April, this year.

An updated version of a report released by the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) in March 2017 has documented 76 cases of suspicious deaths & suicides in Turkey during detention or under arrest or following heavy oppresions apllied by Turkish government since a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

There has been an increase in the number of suspicious deaths in Turkey, most in Turkish jails and detention centers where a torture and ill-treatment is being practiced. In most cases, authorities concluded these as suicides without any effective, independent investigation.

The suspicious death has also taken place beyond the prison walls amid psychological pressure and threats of imminent imprisonment and torture, sometimes following the release of suspects or just before the detention.

A military coup attempt on July 15 killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

According to a report by the state-run Anadolu news agency on May 28, 154,694 individuals have been detained and 50,136 have been jailed due to alleged Gülen links since the failed coup attempt. (SCF with June 11, 2017


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